An Exploration of the teaching techniques of Marjorie Barstow with Cathy Madden

Date(s) - Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 - Sun, 24th Mar 2019
10:30 AM till 5:30 PM

Alexander Technique Centre

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Cathy Madden Group teaching

Cathy Madden Group teaching


Cathy Madden

Cathy Madden







The Constructive Teaching Centre welcomes Cathy Madden, Principle Lecturer, University of Washington School of Drama, and Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio in Seattle, to a two day workshop focused on the teaching of Marjorie Barstow, and how Cathy evolved her teaching technique as a result.

All of Madden’s sessions will be practical, playful explorations of Integrative Alexander Technique Practice. Everyone is invited to bring questions – and any necessary props – to integrate this elegant process directly into what they do.

Each session has a themed focus. The primary focus remains on those of you who take the workshop – as you register, Madden invites you to send her your questions and wishes ahead of time. (

First day of workshop:

Session One: The Barstow Story Overview: the Living Room Étude

How did Marj train teachers?

This session will offer a window into Marj’s living room and the elegant process through which Madden learned to teach. Madden will lead everyone through the series highlighting how it develops the desire to teach, responsibility, confidence, relationship and communication skills, biospychosocial unity , omniservation skills, and constructive thinking.

Session Two: Developing Omniservation and Analysis Tools

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you experience as you are watching someone? What do you notice? What does someone need to do to accomplish a task? What is the most efficient order to accomplish a task?

These questions are foundational to the ability to teach a group. Madden will offer practical ways to develop these skill and everyone will practice them as members of the workshop take individual turns applying the Alexander Technique to everyday and professional tasks.


Second day of workshop

Session Three: Deep Play Variations of Group (and all) Teaching

This session offers tools for group teaching from what Madden defines as “deep play variations”. From her book, Teaching the Alexander Technique:

“Experiencing the Alexander Technique as play freed me from concerns about right and wrong, good and bad. I understood that experiments—whatever might happen—were necessary in the journey, to be valued rather than something to be embarrassed about or avoided. Play gave me the courage and willingness to explore, precisely because there were no real-world consequences. The playfulness with which I was taught enabled me to rigorously explore my choices with confidence while receiving constructive, challenging feedback. 
[…] deep play occurs when the experience of learning transforms belief, enabling new choices in behavior.


Session Four: Teaching from the Perspective of Yes.

While the whole workshop will have been taught from the perspective of “yes”, this session will provide some of the context and neuroscience for this choice. Madden identifies these aspects of “yes” in her recent book:


  1. “Yes, I want use the process to be with whatever I am doing, with whomever I am with” is a yes to engagement with my biopsychosocial world, desiring to respond to stimuli.
  2. Yes becomes “yes you can,” believing that all of us are fully capable of learning this work and applying it on our own from our first encounter with the process.
  3. Yes preserves my freedom to choose. Yes awakens me to my own volition with abundant possibilities of response. Yes opens the dance of creativity because all options are available. Yes offers dynamic moment-to-moment sovereignty in my life.



Who should come?

Alexander Technique teachers, students and interested members of the public are welcome.

Can I attend a single day?

The workshop is designed to enable attendance of either day or both. Please indicate which day you would like to attend when you apply for a place.

Weekend Fee: £140. Student discount price: £75

Single day Fee: £80. Student discount price £45

To book contact us


Cathy Madden

Cathy Madden

CATHY MADDEN is Principal Lecturer for the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program, and Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio in Seattle. Her books: Teaching the Alexander Technique: Active Pathways to Integrative Practice was published by Jessica Kingsley in 2018 and Integrative Alexander Technique Practices for Performing Artist : Onstage Synergy was published by Intellect Ltd. in 2014.

She regularly teaches in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the United States. A founding member and former Chair of Alexander Technique International, she currently serves as a Sponsoring Teacher and as Chair of the Vision/Mission committee.

She has been a featured presenter/keynote speaker at International Congresses, Alexander Technique International Annual General Meetings , the Freedom to Act Conference and was the Keynote Speaker for the Inaugural Alexander Technique and Performing Arts Conference in Melbourne. She remains active as a theater director.

Madden studied the Alexander Technique with Marjorie Barstow for nearly 20 years and served as her assistant in workshops in the U.S.A. and Europe. (